29 November 2018

Towards Quantum Technologies and Services in Telcos

There are evidences of increasing efforts and investments in innovation activities on Quantum Technologies. Notable example are activities of Microsoft, IBM, HP, Toshiba, Google, NASA, Intel, Alibaba, BT, TID, KT and several other Academia and Centers of Excellence.

Quantum technologies and architectures are showing different levels of maturity, but it is believed that first commercial systems are likely to be available in the range of five to ten years: advanced prototypes, an in some cases commercial solutions, are already available.

A future breakthrough in the development of Quantum technologies and services at affordable prices will have systemic and far reaching impacts, e.g.

  • Quantum Internet capable of exchanging information through fully optical networks and processing it, optically, in the form of encoded photons (higher level of security than today);

  • the development of disruptive applications in the areas of cryptography, cyber-security and anti-counterfeit transactions with “quantum money”, finance, but also in bioinformatics, quantum machine learning and quantum intelligence;

  • radical implications in other sectors and industries, such as new faster ways of processing genetic big data, quantum biology and medicine or developing of new nano-tech smart materials.

It is likely that quantum systems will eventually be available in five to ten years:

Current efforts are on: 1) materials/chipsets; 2) scalability by implementing error correcting codes; 3) design and engineering quantum architectures.

Once available, quantum systems (and quantum algorithms) have the potential jeopardizing the current security systems (source ETSI).

Products and trends tend to follow a standard innovation cycle starting with early adopters who pay high premiums, and ending with commoditized product offerings with abundant competition. Quantum will reset the innovation cycle for many common commoditized security, and the real costs of concern are related to switching to new “quantum safe” technologies.

Eventually, it can be argued that if the “Softwarization” of Telecommunications is going to “commoditize” the digital infrastructures (by opening an OPEX cycle) a breakthrough in quantum technologies would have the potential to (re-)open a new CAPEX cycle, by requesting large investments for deploying future quantum infrastructures. 

Presentation @ GSMA available at this Link